17 years in 17 seconds: a quick retrospective of my design work

This past Saturday was my 17th business anniversary, so I decided to share 17 of my designs that I have loved over the years. Of course it’s hard to pick favorites, but as I reflect back on my career, these projects stand out for their design, mission or the overall experience.

The video above shows a 15-second sneak peek, but read on to hear the stories about each project from past to present.

Lakeview Chamber of Commerce Branding & CTA Placards This is one of my first big projects with one of my first clients (with whom I still work). I loved brainstorming and developing this branding program, especially because involved local business. Plus, it was exciting to see the placards and posters on the CTA trains and stations. Stonefish Grill Branding & Menu I worked on a lot of restaurant branding and menu design in the early part of my career. I never had a chance to eat at this restaurant, but it’s one of my favorite restaurant logo designs. DePaul University Coleman Entrepreneurship Center Strategic Plan Brochure I didn’t create the branding for this program, however I loved working with the icons to develop the brochure for this program, especially because it highlighted entrepreneurs. I also developed related materials such as a pocket folder and one-sheets. Tracy Dillard Holiday Cards Tracy Dillard is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group who specializes in architecturally-interesting properties in Chicago, including Mies van der Rohe properties. She also happens to be my very first client. Being an art-minded person, she always challenged me to create something unique and bold when designing her holiday cards. I always used an interesting fold, format, layout or paper stock. See 10 years of holiday card designs here. BAI Payments Connect Event Branding & Marketing Materials This event branding was a challenge as the theme of this conference for payment professionals was quite abstract and multifaceted. After doing a lot of research and brainstorming, I was really pleased with how the final design highlighted the three aspects of the conference, and showed how they are different yet connected. Tribe Wellness Branding & Marketing Materials This is still one of my favorite branding projects. My client had the fantastic idea of using the Tree of Life as design inspiration and I loved how the final logo turned out—and especially how I was able to “pull apart” the logo to designate the three aspects off the program. Best Loved Quick Fixes From Mixes Book Cover Though I love working on multi-page designs, I have always loved designing book covers and this was one of my favorite cookbook covers. One of the cool things about this client was that she hired me after a few months of receiving my promotional postcards (see, marketing works!) Family Focus Spring Benefit Invitations I designed Family Focus’ gala event invitations for several years, but two of them still stand out. The invitation with the butterfly illustration had a unique diecut on the front and the circus theme and colors of the second one were fun to work with (as well as a challenge—printing purple in 4-color process is not always easy!) Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) Branding & Student Lookbook When I started working with CTS, they didn’t have an overall branding so their marketing materials were inconsistent. This is one of my favorite types of projects as I love to pull everything together and make it consistent. Of the many pieces I designed for CTS over the years, the first piece—which is this student Lookbook—is still my favorite. National Museum of Mexican Art Event Invitation One of the speakers at the Family Focus gala event (see butterfly invitation above) loved my design work on that piece and asked me to design an invitation for this gallery exhibition (I love when that happens!) The artwork and visuals I worked with were amazing and I was honored that the exhibition panels I designed were eventually donated to the Huichol cultural center in Mexico. Plus the opportunity to attend the fun opening reception party was an extra bonus! Typography in the City: West Loop by Lidia Varesco Design So, of course I had to include a few of my own designs on this list. This book was inspired by my photo blog Typography in the City and features images of found typography from my West Loop neighborhood. And with the changing real estate landscape in the West Loop, it’s also become a local “history book.” Typography in the City: West Loop is available in the Blurb Bookstore for $37 (hardcover). City Kid: ABC by Lidia Varesco Design After having a few kids, I was inspired to start designing children’s books. When my son was a toddler, he used to love pointing out letters on buildings and signs, so I designed this book for him and other city kids to learn their letters and numbers by spotting typography around them. City Kid: ABC is available in the Blurb Bookstore for $12.50 (softcover). HELM Branding & Brochure My contact at CTS eventually moved on to this organization and reached out to me to brand the organization, as well as design several brochures for prospective students. I love establishing long-term relationships with my clients, so it always makes me happy when clients who have moved onto a new organization reconnect with me. Volunteers of America of Illinois Brochure My client at VOA of Illinois loved the HELM Lookbook I designed (mentioned above) so we decided to make a “lookbook” that would share the mission of their organziation. I loved how the “building blocks of change” concept turned out visually and I have enjoyed adapting the branding to their program brochures and other marketing pieces. Crawligator Logo & Branding I just love how this logo turned out. The Crawligator is a baby product, so of course it was near and dear to my (mama) heart. With the fun name and related visuals that it suggested, it was an enjoyable project from beginning to end. The hardest part was choosing the final logo becasue I loved all of my design concepts! RSSI Event Branding I love working on projects that have a very clear theme and require some design research (one of my favorite parts of a project). Since this event had a Roaring 20s theme, it suggested a very specific type of artwork. I think I was designing this in my head when my client was giving me the project details!

Well, there you have it. I hope you have enjoyed this little walk down memory lane with me.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of Lidia Varesco Design over the last 17 years—I couldn’t have made it this far without each and every one of you!